RUTHLESS DICTATOR ROBERT MUGABE, has been toppled according to reports and the Zimbabwean Army has taken control of the African nation.
Zimbabwe’s Army grabbed power in the early hours of Wednesday morning and said they were targeting “criminals” around the ruthless and reviled dictator, Robert Mugabe.
The Army took control of Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster, ZBC and addressed the nation, assuring the world that the 93-year-old leader and his family were “safe and sound”.
“We are only targeting criminals around him (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,”
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.” Major General SB Moyo, said on television.
Soldiers and armoured vehicles blocked roads to the main government offices, The Zimbabwean Parliament and the courts in central Harare, while taxis ferried commuters to work nearby, according to Reuters.
Neither Mugabe nor his wife Grace have been seen or heard from since the start of the coup. Grace is 40 years younger than 93-year-old Mugabe and had been expected to succeed her husband as president.
Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in 1980, when his ZANU-PF party won the elections following the end of white minority rule; he has been the president of Zimbabwe since 1987.
Under Mugabe’s authoritarian regime, the state security services dominated the country and were responsible for widespread human rights violations.
Mugabe has maintained revolutionary socialist views from the Cold War era, and blamed Zimbabwe’s economic woes on conspiring North American capitalist countries.
In 2007, Zimbabwe’s Inflation skyrocketed to a whopping 79.6 billion percent – Mugabe then declared inflation illegal.
Mugabe was emboldened by his anti-imperialist rhetoric and African political leaders were reluctant to criticise Mugabe, though Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called him “a cartoon figure of an archetypal African dictator”.
Zimbabwe’s opposition party – the Movement for Democratic Change – called for a peaceful return to constitutional democracy, adding it hoped the military intervention would lead to the “establishment of a stable, democratic and progressive nation-state”.
Britain and The United States have advised their citizens in Harare to stay indoors because of “political uncertainty.”
BRIEF HISTORY OF ZIMBABWE
ZIMBABWE was formerly a British Colony known as Southern Rhodesia and later, Rhodesia – the country gained independence from Britain in 1980.
In 1965, the ruling forces declared independence as Rhodesia. The state endured international isolation and a 15-year guerrilla war with black nationalist forces -this ended in a peace agreement that established independence and sovereignty in April 1980.
Zimbabwe then joined the Commonwealth of Nations, which it withdrew from in December 2003.
During the 1990s, students, trade unionists, and other workers often demonstrated to express discontent with the Mugabe regime and Zanu-PF party policies.
In 1996, civil servants, nurses, and junior doctors went on strike over salary issues. The general health of the population also began to significantly decline; by 1997 an estimated 25% of the population had been infected by HIV in a pandemic that was affecting most of southern Africa.
Land redistribution re-emerged as the main issue for the Zanu-PF government around 1997. Despite the existence of a “willing-buyer-willing-seller” land reform programme since the 1980s, the minority white Zimbabwean population of around 0.6% continued to hold 70% of the country’s most fertile agricultural land.
In 2000, the government pressed ahead with its Fast Track Land Reform programme, a policy involving compulsory land acquisition aimed at redistributing land from the minority white population to the majority black population.
Confiscations of white farmland, continuous droughts, and a serious drop in external finance and other supports led to a sharp decline in agricultural exports, which were traditionally the country’s leading export producing sector.
Some 58,000 independent black farmers have since experienced limited success in reviving the gutted cash crop sectors through efforts on a smaller scale.